Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Abstract:
According to Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen of Bowling Green State University, disabilities can be superpowers for astronauts in space. A position she and her co-author, Joshua Miele, of the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, will explain Sunday May 27th at 3 pm at the National Space Society's annual International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Washington, DC | Posted on May 17th, 2018

Dr. Wells-Jensen uses the 1997 fire aboard Russia's Mir Space Station as an example of the advantages that disabled astronauts can bring to emergency situations. During the Mir fire, thick smoke obstructed the astronauts' vision. Without being able to see, the astronauts could not find the Mir's fire extinguishers. Dr. Wells-Jensen says that a blind astronaut would have had no difficulty locating the extinguishers or any of the station's other vital tools. Dr. Wells-Jensen explains that lighting systems are typically the first things to fail in spacecraft emergencies. The sudden loss of light can disorient and panic sighted astronauts, she says, handicapping them when speed and awareness are paramount. But malfunctioning lights present no problem to a blind astronaut.

Then there are people who have lost their limbs. Leglessness is no problem in space's zero gravity. A legless astronaut can get into spaces in a craft that other astronauts may not be able to squeeze into.

And there's another advantage of handicapped astronauts: neural plasticity. Research shows that the brain rewires itself to give superpowers to the disabled. For example, the blind develop supernormal senses of sound and touch. Amputees develop the ability to accomplish miracles of strength and dexterity, like the championship running of Oscar Pistorius. In addition, astronauts missing arms can be equipped with specialized prosthetics that allow deeds beyond the powers of five fingers.

Dr. Wells-Jensen adds that modifications to existing equipment and technology to accommodate blind astronauts would also yield unexpected advantages to all astronauts. Spacesuit gloves are currently cumbersome and would not allow blind astronauts to feel their surroundings. Redesigning those gloves would ultimately benefit all astronauts. And equipping visual displays with audio or tactile feedback would provide all astronauts with a fail-safe should vision be blocked in an emergency.

Says Dr. Wells-Jensen, "It's not the disability itself that represents an advantage: it's the genius of human cognition that reorganizes and reimagines work flow when it encounters interesting problems to solve." Concludes Wells-Jensen, "if disabled people are integrated into the crew, the whole team benefits and has a better chance of surviving."

###

The National Space Society's International Space Development Conference will take place from May 24th to May 27th at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90045.

####

About National Space Society
NSS is an independent non-profit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space, with thousands of members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more, visit the NSS Website (space.nss.org).

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Aggie Kobrin
Show Producer
949-836-8464


Lynne Zielinski
202-429-1600

Copyright © National Space Society

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Nanometrics to Announce Second Quarter Financial Results on July 30, 2019 July 17th, 2019

Breakthrough material could lead to cheaper, more widespread solar panels and electronics July 16th, 2019

Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time July 15th, 2019

NUS ‘smart’ textiles boost connectivity between wearable sensors by 1,000 times: Metamaterials are incorporated into conventional clothing to dramatically improve signal strength between electronic devices, allowing for new applications July 15th, 2019

Possible Futures

Breakthrough material could lead to cheaper, more widespread solar panels and electronics July 16th, 2019

Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time July 15th, 2019

Dresden physicists use nanostructures to free photons for highly efficient white OLEDs: Trapped light particles July 12th, 2019

Strange warping geometry helps to push scientific boundaries July 12th, 2019

Announcements

Nanometrics to Announce Second Quarter Financial Results on July 30, 2019 July 17th, 2019

Breakthrough material could lead to cheaper, more widespread solar panels and electronics July 16th, 2019

Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time July 15th, 2019

NUS ‘smart’ textiles boost connectivity between wearable sensors by 1,000 times: Metamaterials are incorporated into conventional clothing to dramatically improve signal strength between electronic devices, allowing for new applications July 15th, 2019

Aerospace/Space

Better microring sensors for optical applications May 10th, 2019

Sculpting Super-Fast Light Pulses: NIST Nanopillars Shape Light Precisely for Practical Applications May 3rd, 2019

New hybrid energy method could fuel the future of rockets, spacecraft for exploration: Nontraditional route shown to increase performance, burn rate April 9th, 2019

VP Pence Announces Humans on Moon by 2024 April 2nd, 2019

Human Interest/Art

No ink needed for these graphene artworks: Artist employs Rice University lab's laser-induced graphene as medium for ultramodern art May 3rd, 2019

'Quantum Rhapsodies' performance explores quantum physics, its role in our universe April 5th, 2019

Weizmann Institute of Science Presents: Weizmann Wonder Wander - 4G - is Online June 21st, 2016

Call for NanoArt and Art-Science-Technology Papers June 9th, 2016

Events/Classes

Nanometrics to Announce Second Quarter Financial Results on July 30, 2019 July 17th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Present at Upcoming June 2019 Conferences June 2nd, 2019

ACS selects Naomi Halas to represent Americas at ChinaNano: Rice U. pioneer wins 2019 ACS Nano Lectureship Award for the Americas May 29th, 2019

CEA-Leti Develops CMOS Process for High-Performance MicroLEDs That Could Overcome Display-Size Obstacles: New Concept Creates All-in-One RGB MicroLEDs, Eliminates Several Transfer Steps to Receiving Substrate & Boosts Performance May 16th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project